FORT RUCKER, Ala -- So you made it through the interview. Now what?

For any job available, many people -- sometimes hundreds -- apply. Usually the employer limits the numbers who are interviewed to only a few. When you are selected, be sure the employer has decided that you have the basic qualifications for the job.

After the interview, writing a thank-you letter gives the employer one more thing to like about you. Most job hunters will not write a thank-you letter -- if you do, you will separate yourself from the competition.

Mail it in time for the employer to receive it two or three days after the interview. If you were interviewed by more than one person or a panel, address it to the person who conducted the interview and who is responsible for hiring. This gesture will greatly increase your chances for a second interview or a job offer. In fact, several SFL-TAP clients have said this sold the employer on them instead of a competitor.

The thank-you letter tells the employer that you are enthusiastic about the job and the company, and that you are confident about your ability to do the job.

The letter should be tailored to the company's needs and the interviewer's personality. Personalize it by mentioning particulars about the job or company, or points specifically addressed at the interview.

If the interview went well, the purpose of the thank-you letter is to remind the employer about you and your qualifications. Communicate your continued interest in the job and summarize the qualities that make you the best choice.

Sometimes you need to highlight particular skills or qualifications you possess that the employer considers to be essential. If possible, use a few buzz words from the career field that show you will fit in. The letter will leave the employer with a good impression of you, your skills and abilities.

If you forgot to mention some pertinent information or didn't answer an interviewer's question as well as you could have during the interview, the thank-you letter can give you a second chance. In the letter, repeat your strong points and elaborate on the points you failed to mention before. Answer the questions that you did not answer during the interview.

After sending the thank-you letter, no matter how well you thought the interview went, don't sit by the phone waiting to hear from the employer. Job hunting is an on-going process -- start working on your next interview.

Always remember that interviewing is a learning experience. Although it will probably never be your favorite pastime, you will improve each time you interview.

If you experience a particular problem or tough question, or you feel you need additional practice, the Fort Rucker SFL-TAP Center will be glad to assist transitioning Soldiers and their spouses. Call 255-2558 for more information.